The El Paso Independent School Board voted to hire in-house legal counsel, potentially paying the attorney up to $150, 000. This will be in addition to their outside legal counsel coming from Attorney Anthony Safi, who's paid $225 an hour.
An EPISD spokeswoman said they're keeping Safi, who has a long history with the district and knows it very well. But they need someone in the office, all the time that can fulfill their immediate needs, such as answering questions. They've chosen to go with Linda Samples who's served as a trustee with Canutillo and is currently with Baskind and Hosford. This is a position they've considered filling since October, but Texas Education Agency-appointed Conservator Judy Castleberry also recommended they hire in-house counsel.
The board also filled the open director of guidance services position, appointing Manuel Castruita, who is coming from Yselta ISD. This position became vacant late last month when Kathleen Ortega retired. EPISD sites personal reasons for her departure, but it is important to note, she retired after investigators interviewed her about her role in the cheating scheme. She allegedly had access to manipulated transcripts and chose not to report them for fear of retaliation. The job pays anywhere from $80-to-$110,000.